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What Women Want: Uncovering motivation behind purchase behavior

Mii, a car designed exclusively for women, has arrived. Mii is the result of a collaboration between SEAT, the Spanish automobile company, and Cosmopolitan, the international fashion magazine for women. The car comes with jewel-effect rims, a handbag hook, and headlights made to look like they are wearing eyeliner. The reception of the car, however, has been less than enthusiastic.

The Twitterverse satirically weighed in on this product with sentiments like, “Oh thank goodness, finally there's a car wearing eyeliner. How have we women coped so long without this…oh wait.”

Even Ellen Degeneres mused on her show that she couldn’t believe that during the two years that it took to design it, nobody said that they thought this was a bad idea. Why did the Mii drive such a strong, negative response?

In partnership with the Alliance for Family Entertainment, Merkle’s Neuroanalytics team conducted research on the similarities and differences in the decision-making process of men and women when buying a sports car. The real reason the Mii flopped was because it didn’t satisfy the motivations behind women’s purchase decisions. Download our new whitepaper now and join our webinar on May 4 to learn about our findings. 

Know your audience

Aside from the car looking like a Barbie glam convertible, the company failed to deliver a product that would appeal to a large enough customer group. SEAT agreed that this car was targeted to a very niche audience: “Mii by Cosmopolitan is not a car intended entirely for a female audience. It is the result of a two-year-long process of co-creation involving Cosmopolitan readers, editors, and the magazine's creative team, aimed at developing a model that responds to a very specific target -- the Cosmo reader -- and in no way to women as a whole.” The Cosmo customer segment has a total reach of 18.2 million readers. Those readers have a median individual employment income is $26,409 and a median household income is $57,298. Based on these statistics, the target audience is small and has limited disposable income. Perhaps the novelty of owning a car designed by a fashion magazine may appeal to some, but a wide enough consumer audience just isn’t there. 

Understand what your customer needs

Marketing for the Mii also focused on surface level, aesthetic features of the product. This is a missed opportunity because our research shows that female customers make decisions based on personal values, and marketing is more effective when it appeals to those values. Not surprisingly, marketing superficial features of the car did not satisfy those value-based needs.

Identify what motivates your buyer

Lastly, the Neuroanalytics team found that men and women are driven by similar values when purchasing a sports car. Some values skew slightly more toward one gender and there are slight differences in product attribute preferences. On the whole, the genders are aligned on what is important to making a purchase. Therefore, in designing and launching a new car, it makes more business sense to create a product that appeals to both genders. 

Our whitepaper and upcoming webinar unpacks buyer motivation and allows readers to see what’s beneath the hood. Women are the primary decision makers in up to 85 percent of consumer purchases (including automobiles) and they control $20 trillion in annual consumer spending. Our study shows what is driving those purchase decisions and allows marketers to better target this valuable group.